DENVER (CBS4)– A bill to toughen Colorado’s stalking laws passed out of committee unanimously and now moves on to the full House.
The bill was introduced in response to the death of Vonnie Flores. The teacher in Leadville was shot to death by a neighbor who had been stalking her for five years.
Vonnie’s family told lawmakers it is time for a change.
“We went to the district attorney and begged them to help us,” said Vonnie’s husband Dave Flores. “In a second I lost my best friend and partner. We were married for 41 years.”
The bill requires automatic restraining orders and a court appearance before a stalking suspect is released from jail.
Representative Millie Hamner is the sponsor of the bill.
“This is probably one of the most important bills as a legislator,” said Hamner, a Democrat who represents Dillon.
Some lawmakers were uneasy about taking the decision to arrest away from police.
“We’re saying as legislators we know better than you what to do,” said Rep. Mark Waller, a Republican representing El Paso County.
“If one of these laws we’re trying to change now, if one of these would have been in place my wife would be alive now,” said Flores.